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I would like to be as real and as honest as possible with my confessions. I don’t have any intention to blow things out of proportion or keep essential details to myself just to protect a name or keep mine pleasing to your eyes or to any person who would read my personal account as a former corporate yuppy (a journalist to be specific). However, I would like to be prudent enough to use code names, if necessary, to protect myself from any potential lawsuit. I do not have any intent to smear any reputation. My goal is to tell a story. In one way or another, I would like you to realize important questions that you would surely ask along the way as you pursue your corporate career.
I am the Founder of this blog and I would like you to see the comparison of being a corporate yuppy and as a freelance Yuppy. I wouldn’t want you to come up with the wrong conclusion so I have to straighten the record before you get the wrong impression:
1. Do I hate the general corporate set up? No, I do love working in an office and working for a company (specially startup companies). Yes, I hate the way people run companies.
2. I do think that there’s nothing wrong working in a regular corporate set-up and committing to projects at the same time. In fact, I think it’s a smart choice. Well, please do read first your company policy before committing to any freelance project.
3. I am full time freelancer now but I do still want to get a corporate position, work for amazing companies who would help me grow professionally and can grow with me, and meet awesome people.
- I have a bachelor’s degree in Political Science in a not so significant university.
- I’ve been freelancing for almost four years (this includes 2 years experience in college).
- I love reading self-improvement books and other materials related to the subject that’s why I founded another website called ThaMindPester.
- This website does not only focus on making money online but also focuses on living life to the fullest, your adventure, and our adventure as freelancers.
- I have four confessions to make.
Confession No. 1 Getting paid with a wage of a Janitor and having an almost 24/7 Responsibility
Part 1: Salary of a Janitor
Yes, you’ve read it right. I was getting paid with a wage of a Janitor. I mean there’s nothing wrong with a janitorial job but for a person who has a college degree, that’s a hard a slap to my mom who co-financed my education, to my university, to my family, and to myself. So what was the job? I was a freaking Journalist getting paid for $179 per month! Can you imagine yourself subsisting with that amount of money? Take note that the tax was already included in that $179 so my total take home pay was only around $150-160!
Yes, it really happened to me and still happening to other college graduate in my country.
Yes, I was surviving with that amount of money. I had to make it sure that I wouldn’t spend a dime without checking my monthly budget which was written in a small piece of paper (that I would put in my wallet so I could check it every time I felt the urge to buy something). If I felt that I deserved a reward, I had to skip a meal or two to treat myself somewhere and loosen up a little.
So would you really survive with less than $200 per month?
In reality, you will survive with that money here in the Philippines but that’s only for “survival”.
Survival means . . .
. . . . Eat thrice a day plus some snack with a budget of $ 2.49/Day (Php. 27.00/meal) Menu: veggies and cup of rice Snack: Cracker, some chips, soda.
Weekly: $17.45 (Php. 756.00) Monthly: $69.7
. . . . Rides: Work and home $ .74/Day (Php. 50.00 )
Weekly: $6.92 (Php. 300) Monthly: $27.68
. . . . Room Rent $34/Monthly (Php. 1500)
. . . . Water Supply (Drinking Water Included) $5.54/Monthly (Php. 240)
All in all:
$136.92 – Expenses per month.
If you have a family, the remaining $29.02 would be for them. So, can you imagine the horror of Filipino employment here in the Philippines? Well if you are a capitalist, that would be good for your business but if you are financially educated, you would surely frown at this situation.
What’s for your savings?
This might sound a little bit whiny and you might think that there are people suffering more and eating less in Africa. You might say that I should feel lucky and contented with that amount of money but I believe that the standard of living in Africa should not be the standard for everyone. Everybody deserves a better and fulfilling life.
The unjust salary in my country (particularly in my province) perpetuates the blatant disparity between the rich and the working class. In fairness to these companies, there are some benefits that you’ll get from your employment as mandated by law (e.g. insurance, paid leave of absences, social security system, and etc.).
So, how much would be a just salary? We should consider many aspects. I’ve mentioned most of these considerations in the list above. However, you should also consider the type of lifestyle that you would like to live. Clearly, $160 is not the salary range that would save you from being labeled as “impoverished”.
[notification type=”Wondering How Much You Should Charge as an Online Professional” ] How much do I pay my Virtual Assistant by Chris Ducker
How Much Do Filipino Workers Earn – The rates are quite outdated. [/notification]
Part II: A Janitorial Salary with 24/7 Responsibility
As a former journalist, I had a more demanding job than most of the usual corporate employment. I was always “on-call” and would never know when to get a real rest. I was exhausted most of the time and I used to frequent police stations (to get fresh news) more than I visit my bathroom. I should always keep up with the action and deliver news materials no matter what the circumstances would be. I was a soldier willing to take orders and accomplish any mission even without overtime pay. So now, you would realize and appreciate those journalists risking their lives just to deliver first hand information.
Until one day, I couldn’t bear it anymore.
I have a life to live, a family to support, and a dream to chase.
I left corporate journalism for good (but I still do freelance work as a journalist).
Confession No. 2 Most companies fail to communicate passion and sucks in handling office politics.
Part I: Workplace Passion
My job as a journalist is a noble profession. Nobody can argue against that. Journalism was born out of the ideals of democracy, the right to expression, and right to information. Thus, only idealism and passion can fuel a journalist’s drive to continue walking in the path. Unfortunately, most companies I know do not possess the ability to transform ideals and passion into a wall that employees can lean on. Worse is, they cannot even sustain nor foster passion and idealism in workplaces.
Disclaimer: I do not mention any company here. So please do not assume that I’m pertaining to companies I included on any of my social media accounts or resume.
The failure of most companies out there is not really about their greed (well partly, greed is one factor) and failure to justly compensate employees. I believe it is because of the fact that they fail to communicate the passion to their employees and transform it to scalable form of success and progress.
Believe it or not, there are people who would be willing to work for you even for peanuts IF they will feel that they are part of something big and worthy. Kindling the passion in workplaces is one of the major challenges in today’s corporate life.
Part II: Office Politics
Another thing that I notice is, most seniors of a company (executives, managers, and supervisors) tend to abuse their subordinates especially when these subordinates are trying to prove themselves in the company. I mean there’s nothing wrong with “going the extra mile” but geez these whimsical superiors are asking too much from their subordinates. When these willing victims fail, all they get are smirks from their superiors. They love it when you fail and prove there’s no better person out there but them. Genuine mentorship seems to be rare and doubtful these days.
Most of these corporate execs never realize that they are not justly paying their professionals to do the work they require yet they tend to be more demanding, and not to mention, VERY exasperating.
Aside from these abuses, I realize that companies seem to like the competition among their employees. In general, competition is good but office strife is not cool at all. Productivity declines. Teamwork weakens. Genuine communication is almost non-existent. I can’t believe how these people can live backstabbing each other on a daily basis and wishing someone to fail along the way so they can take the place of their competitor. And it’s a vicious cycle. Trust me; you don’t wanna live in that workplace where creativity, genuine communication, and teamwork are close to non-existence.
How Office Politics Can Ruin a Great Project. Read More:
There was “this” company that I used to work for in my early career. Aside from the usual workload that I had, they decided to launch a program highlighting the events and political clashes in the national and local election. They placed me as the head writer of the program. That should have had meant that I needed to work on the script of the program, the intro, and anything that had to do with the program’s CONTENT. Little did I know, that I was expected to orchestrate the whole thing. I had to do the papers, coordination, representations, talks with the candidates, set the venue, meeting with the stakeholders, and etc. That should had been the responsibilities of my superiors because I was only working for them for less than a year and I was not even holding a regular position. I was just a contractual employee (a freelancer to state it bluntly). Those responsibilities and dealings were executive functions by nature.
As a company, would you really let a newbie do the negotiations on your behalf? Not that I was not capable of accomplishing those tasks (since I have done many event organizing projects before) but that should have had not been part of my job since there were risk and factors that I should have had not been accountable of and have had not the authority to decide on. My work should have had been about writing the content of the program not making decisions for the program. Besides, it’s like everyone was depending on me and there was no one there willing to share the burden. I had other teammates that should have had worked with me but alas, to my dismay.
Office politics and inexperience stepped in. The program burnt me out. My freelance projects were all pending (Yes, I had freelance projects that time). There were decisions that I was not allowed to make the judgment call. The company that I was working for was less than willing to lower their ego to make compromises with other stakeholders. I was doing all the paper works, was talking to all people, and putting my own neck on the line on behalf of my superiors who should have had been there to guide me. When my superior called me and was frantically (and irritatingly) demanding of progress, I hung up the phone and left the company after a week or two. Disappointingly, two days before the actual event, the company cancelled the program because of the “lack of budget”! Can you imagine that? They had the guts to demand preparation and coordination without even finalizing the budget for the program! As expected, the stakeholders involved have lost their trust and confidence to my former company. Some candidates even expressed their disappointment and wrote the management about the damaged that the cancellation made to their campaign.
There was nothing to lose just a bunch of headache. Even though I was perfectly capable of organizing the event, I did not have enough experience in our company protocols. There was no genuine mentorship. My teammates did not have enough initiative to lessen the burden and accomplish the project.